Holmfirth Harriers, Mark Buckingham and fiancée Lucy Hall both took 4th place at the Bahrain Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship on Saturday 7 December 2019.
The Holmfirth athletes were taking part in their final triathlon of the season, against a top class field. The men’s race was won by World Triathlon Series star Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway and the women’s race was won by 2016 Ironman 70.3 Champion Holly Lawrence of Great Britain.
The 1.9km (1.2 miles) swim was led out by Ben Kanute of USA who completed the distance in a time of 22 minutes, with Daniel Baekkegard of Denmark 2nd in 22.24, Blummenfelt 3rd 22.26 and Buckingham 9th in 23.09. After a speedy transition to the 90km bike leg Kanute maintained his lead with three Scandinavian athletes including Casper Stornes of Norway and Phil Graves of GB in close attendance. Stornes recorded the fastest bike split of 1.51.56 as five athletes reached T2 close together. Buckingham improved his position on the bike with 8th fastest time 1.55.46. On the run course Blummenfelt was clearly looking to break his course record and soon moved away from the other four athletes and won the race in 3.25.21 (2018 3.29.04) with a superb run of 67 minutes for the half marathon. Baekkegard finished 2nd 3.29.16 with the second fastest run time 70.44 and Casper Stornes took the bronze medal in 3.33.06. A solid run by Mark Buckingham after winning his first ever marathon in October saw him go past four men and recorded the third fastest run time of 1.12.41 and clinched 4th place in 3.35.44.
In the women’s race, London Olympian Lucy Hall led the swim as she has done many times before and recorded a time of 23.06, with Holly Lawrence, Jodie Stimpson and Pamella Oliveira of Brazil all within 12 seconds of her and India Lee and Claire Hann a further 90 seconds back. Lisa Norden (Sweden) had a deficit of almost 3 minutes as she reached the bike mount line. The four leading women maintained their lead for over 50kms, but the chasing group of three caught them before the end of the bike course and seven women arrived at T2 within 13 seconds. Holly Lawrence was quick in T2 and stole a lead in the early stages of the three lap half marathon (21.1km) run course. Stimpson managed to bridge the gap by the 4km mark and the two women were locked together until the third lap when Lawrence moved into the lead to win the race in 3.52.51 with a run split of 1.21.35. Stimpson finished 2mins 38 secs adrift in 3.55.29 with Hann taking 3rd place in 3.55.51 and Lucy Hall got her best placing of 4th (3.59.40) in her first season over the longer distance.
1st – Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) – 3:25:21
2nd – Daniel Baekkegaard (DEN) – 3:29:16
3rd – Casper Stornes (NOR) – 3:33:06
4th – Mark Buckingham (GBR) – 3:35:44
5th – Aleksey Kalistratov (RUS) 3:37:15
6th – Ben Kanute (USA) – 3:37:58
11th – Philip Graves (GBR) – 3:42:20
16th – Ian Dempsey (GBR) – 3:52:27
DNF – Thomas Davis (GBR)
1st – Holly Lawrence (GBR) – 3:52:51
2nd – Jodie Stimpson (GBR) – 3:55:29
3rd – Claire Hann (GBR) – 3:55:51
4th – Lucy Hall (GBR) – 3:59:40
5th – Pamella Oliveira (BRA) – 4:02:20
6th – India Lee (GBR) – 4:02:20
7th – Lisa Norden (SWE) – 4:05:01
8th – Frankie Sanjana (GBR) – 4:11:18
9th – Elle Twentyman (GBR) – 4:24:10